Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fishawy's Coffeehouse @ Khan al-Khalili

We almost gave up looking for the coffeeshouse. It was daunting to walk through the maze of Khan al-Khalili in Islamic Cairo, especially when the past few hours were spent searching for the khan (market) in the first place. But that itself was an unforgettable and priceless experience, one of which I should dedicate another post to.

Along the narrow lane of El-Fishawy, the faces of obvious tourists crowding both sides of the lane were a clear indication that we've finally found the centuries-old coffeehouse that has been mentioned in almost every guide book there is. It'll take some time to fully appreciate the coffeehouse's charm, which over the years, had inspired many artistic elite. The ensemble of intricate mashrabiya design, colourful tiles and paints is, to me, everything an Egyptian coffeehouse should be. Only more opulent, this.

Except for the month of Ramadan, the coffeehouse opens daily throughout the day and night. It must have been much quieter and relaxing here decades ago. I imagine shoppers and traders from the khan stopping by for some refreshment and rest. It's far from quiet these days, given the high influx of both foreign and local visitors. We also observed a few vigilant security officers around the coffeehouse, which I think is a good safety measure.

There was nothing distinctively different in the shai (tea) and ahwa (coffee) but the Egyptian tea culture is one experience that all visitors should include in their itinerary, I feel. And El-Fishawy is a good introduction, before venturing into the more local coffeehouses.

Fishawy's Coffeehouse
Khan al-Khalili, Cairo


qwazymonkey said...

This is definitely up my alley. I'm more of a rustic traveller and shinny tall buildings usually do not impress me that much. And I love sitting in the middle of a busy street watching the world go by as I sip on my tea/coffee. Not to mention busy snapping loads of pictures to remember the moment too.

I'd definitely have this on my list when I finally make it to Egypt. Here's hoping they won't start moving into malls by then!

J said...

Interesting! What kind of leaf is that, floating in your coffee/ tea? *squints*

Is it some sort of mint leaf?

choi yen said...

What kind of leaf they put in tea?

Ciki said...

im not a big tea drinker prefer coffee. How come ur second last shot so dark one.. :P

Rarebeet said...

what a visually stunning holiday! Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures making me want to go on an exotic holiday.

HairyBerry said...

qwazymonkey, in that case, fishawy fits into your bill well! ;D i wish i could stay longer but it was a shame that i had to rush home to pack for my return on the same night. ;( lol on the mall! i think they wont do that cos if they do, i dont think tourists will wanna go there anymore.....

j, it's mint. ;D after watching all the documentaries on tv, i finally had a chance to try it. finally. ;D

mimi, it's actually mint. gives it some freshness, i feel. ;D

cumi & ciki, oh, the coffee's pretty dense here. i think you'll like it. ;D actually, i thought my last shot was darker that the second last one...hehe. i blame the shade....ehehe.

paprika, thanks a lot! gosh, you have just reminded me of the trip to India! south India next, hopefully! *salivating thinking about the thalis....* hehe

Kenny Mah said...

Coffee and tea and Egyptian mummies? :P

HairyBerry said...

kenny, that is one creative title that i can use! *searching for any more tea houses to be blogged* haha!